When people enter our lives at just the right moment to offer us direction, help, support or love when it’s needed the most, we often chalk up these saviors to chance, karma, luck or total randomness. But what if it were the result of something else? Something bigger. Something destined to happen. This latest religious endeavor from the creators of last year’s movie “God’s Not Dead” preaches forgiveness and redemption from commitment to a higher power—the Holy Spirit. Through God’s hand, a dozen lives miraculously connect to help one another survive and, in the end, believe.
The film’s Christian sermon explains all the unusual circumstances that must align and come together, putting the right people in the right place to help others in need. A strong cast gets stronger throughout the movie, as random acts of kindness gain momentum and flourish.
The film’s high-water mark is its steadfast determination to take on difficult personal struggles and still promote hope amongst strangers; a pregnant teen, PTSD and suicide, gang membership, a homeless single-mother and even parents dealing with the sadness of outliving their daughter. It also boldly addresses the non-believers, with former “Rudy” (1993) star Sean Astin playing an unamused doctor who stiff-arms any talk of miracles in the emergency room.
Naysayers and religious doubters will voice complaints that the film comes across as over-the-top in pushing faith upon viewers. And while those feelings are valid, they remain necessary to this movie’s bold message of inclusiveness, tolerance and devotion.
With Christianity and religion often attacked and mocked by an intolerant media focused more on dividing people and their beliefs than bringing them together, most viewers will welcome—and enjoy–this good, uplifting story. Yes, parts of the movie place the audience in the church pew a bit too long. But that’s forgivable for a film created and catered specifically for faith-based audience of believers.
“Do You Believe?” will not gain Oscar nominations for any performances or even media accolades for taking on the trifecta of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All that can be forgiven, though, if one finds kindness and atonement in this film about 12 strangers coming together for something bigger than all of us. And pays it forward.
“Do You Believe?” is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, an accident sequence and some violence. It’s running time is 1 hour and 55 minutes.
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